The blog got started when I wanted to streamline my efforts in helping my friends to get into the kitchen. I've always enjoyed cooking, and getting into the kitchen came fairly naturally to me, especially with my mom being so active in the kitchen herself. But growing up, raising kids, working, and the day to day nonsense of life make cooking sometimes so cumbersome and not worth it that many just give up. I can understand that but I wanted so much to make cooking faster, simpler and more accessible to the person who may just not have all the time in the world to invest in a meal. That's really the focus of my blog.
However, along the almost two years that I've been doing it, a funny thing has happened. I've gotten a lot out of writing the blog. Initially I really thought it was all my giving to the readers what they needed, but what has happened is that I have gotten a lot more in return. I can honestly say that I receive much pleasure when I see and hear that people are using my blog. I get quite a few emails from people I don't know who tell me that they have started cooking and that they like my recipes. That really gets me excited. Of course I love hearing that people like my recipes and my ideas, but more than that I get thrilled to hear that someone else has started cooking. I equate it to the pleasure I get when I student I am helping with writing, suddenly saying, "OH I GET IT!" or "OH, I like to write now." My hard work has paid off and somebody is being changed through it.
The other more comical aspect of it is that, as my friend EM puts it, I am a "celebrity." Brother calls me "semi-famous" and most recently I've discovered I am the topic of discussion even when I am nowhere near the room. Close friends of mine meet people, and somehow get on the topic of Week of Menus. Sometimes the "Oh my gosh, you know her?" question often comes up and then my close friends nod and say, "Yes...I was roommates/best friends/good friends/hanging friends/teaching buddies/older sister to my buddy." I find it hilarious. When friends tell me that I have "celebrity" status I have to laugh maniacally, because recently my "celebrity" status has found me in the following situations, all within the last 10 days.
I showed up at a birthday party of a Friends' twins, only to hear someone gasp ,"Oh my gosh! You're the Week of Menus person." It was kind of nice to be recognized, but it became more funny when I was immediately embarrassed after I realized that my fly was down while she was addressing me.
While walking out of Costco with two bickering kids in the shopping cart, wearing a pair of ratty shorts, my sports bra and a t-shirt that I had worn for my AM yoga class and somehow managed to spill a ton of coffee on, I got recognized in the parking lot. My hair was disheveled, I think my fly was up this time, but I am pretty sure I smelled and looked frustrated as my kids were going non stop. This person was a friend of a friend and called to me across the parking lot, gave me a warm hug, and the point of conversation was of course Week of Menus. We had a nice fun chat, all the while I was self-conscious, staring at my coffee stain as this person was impeccably dressed and looking cute and spunky. Not a good moment.
Finally,while walking through a shopping mall with another friend and our combined five kids in tow. I ran into another friend of a friend. True to form I was wearing my super celebrity most stylish outfit of a ratty tshirt with possibly perspiration stains under it for the day was hot and I was trying to calmly manage three of my children through one of the most potentially crowded days in the store, the Nordstroms sale. My face was shiny for sure, my fly was up (I'm now forever going to be worried about that) but I was pretty tired and not feeling all that peppy when I ran into friend of another friend, her husband, and new baby. The conversation was fun, but choppy as Son and Daughters don't like to see me talk to anyone but them. We hastily broke away as it was clear that I wasn't going to be able to have a graceful adult conversation.
I will have to do as Friend EM has advised, which is to go out in public with sunglasses. This is not to appear cool, but to rather hide myself so that no one can see me in my nonsenical glory.
In the meanwhile, as you laugh at me, and I truly invite you to laugh at me for it keeps me humble and reminds me who I really am, I thought I'd encourage you to to make another variation on the mochi cake. I gave another whirl at the blueberry one to see if the texture was better in the 9X13 pan vs. the muffin pan, only I had no blueberries, only raspberries and blackberries. I am REALLY glad I did it however, because I loved the texture in the 9x13 pan a lot! I think the problem is that I was going for too much crust on the muffins and I over cooked the blueberry mini mochi cakes. The flavor on these were scrumptious, the texture really special and overall just a perfect bite of fun. Run and get your mochi and make these now!
Raspberry Blackberry Mochi Cake
adapted from the Food Librarian
Makes 24 regular size muffin/mini cakes, or one 9x13 pan
1 lb box mochiko (sweet rice flour - equivalent to 3 cups)
2 sticks of butter (1 cup) melted
1 1/2 cups of sugar
12 oz can evaporated skim milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 oz fresh blackberries
6 oz fresh raspberries
Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9x13 pan. (I find it easiest to just use cooking spray oil like Pam).
In a large bowl, mix together melted butter and sugar. Whisk until well combined.
Add evaporated milk and mix. Add eggs and mix well.
Add vanilla extract, salt and mix. Add baking powder and whisk until it is fully incorporated. Finally add mochiko powder, and mix until the texture is uniform and smooth.
Carefully pour about half the mixture into greased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle the top evenly with blackberries and raspberries.
Carefully scoop remaining mochi batter on top, smoothing out with a rubber spatula to create a smooth surface.
Bake for 1 hour, until crust is golden and slightly crisp.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes and then serve. Perfect with coffee ice cubes drink.